Health, Wellness & Biotech

Materna Medical Raises $22M As Femtech Becomes A Billion-Dollar Sector

Mountain View, California-based Materna Medical raised $22 million to tackle pelvic care for prenatal and postpartum patients, according to SEC filings.

The filings did not specify the round’s investors, and the company did not respond to requests to comment.

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The 15-year-old OB-GYN startup is working in a niche area of health that often goes underserved: the pelvic area. Pregnant or postpartum patients often develop long-term incontinence or prolapse symptoms due to injury to the pelvic floor.

In 2019, the company launched its first commercial device: Milli Trainer, a pelvic floor dilator with adjustable sizing to help women dealing with painful sex. Its sister product, Milli Vaginal Dilator, received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to help treat symptoms of vaginismus, a painful reaction to penetration that causes the muscles to seize up.

Materna Medical’s second device, aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor and reducing pelvic floor injuries for first-time pregnant women, is currently undergoing clinical trials.

A growing femtech sector

The femtech sector—coined by the founder of the fertility tracking app Clue in 2016—has steadily risen in the ranks of venture capital funding as more and more startups dedicated to women’s health have sprung up. In 2021, funding hit at a whopping $1 billion for the first time in the sector’s history, per Crunchbase data.

Among those startups raising funding in 2022 are Ruth Health, a telehealth startup dedicated to lactation support and postpartum care such as pelvic floor exercises, raised $2.4 million in seed funding in April. Another, Santa Barbara-based Oma Fertility, raised $29 million in June to offer fertility services to patients who want to be pregnant. Women’s health startups have traditionally gone underfunded, due to lack of understanding among the largely male venture capital world. Furthermore, womens’ health ranks low in pharmaceutical research; one report found only 1% of pharmaceutical research funding went to women’s health conditions other than breast cancer.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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